SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Counselors at Sioux Falls High Schools are tackling a heavy issue this month.
September is suicide prevention month. According to data from the CDC, twenty-three percent of high school students considered suicide. During September, Lincoln school counselors are supporting the “You Matter” campaign, teaching students to ask, listen, and inform when they see something out of the ordinary with a friend. The idea is to get the students to look out for each other. The “inform” part can be a challenge for teenagers.

“We talk with a student and we say listen I would rather have your friend be mad at you in the moment than your friend be dead,” said Lincoln High School Counselor Matt Meyers. “A lot of times the students who are hesitant to speak up when they get it through their head they are like oh yah, ok you’re right.”

Arthur Tao is a senior at Lincoln.

“In high school when things are changing it probably is one of the most important things is to stay and stick through it and know that it will be ok in the end,” said Tao.

Across town at Washington High School, fellow senior Jenisha Gurung says awareness among students that help is available is growing.

“I value mental health awareness,” said Gurung. “A lot of students are accepting the program and really allowing themselves to access help, which is a great thing.”

Today Janisha and other Washington students heard from a woman who lost her father to suicide. Washington counselor Travis Sieber says making sure students know help is available is paramount to their “You Matter” campaign.

“We want students to know it’s ok to not be ok and the second part of the goal is to know where to access resources both inside of school and outside of school,” said Sieber.

Counselors at both schools are pleased to see that awareness surrounding mental health has increased in the past few years.

“I hope that trend continues I think it is something very important, here in the Midwest we like to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, I got this I can control it. I can handle it, a lot of times we can sometimes we can’t when we can’t that’s when we need to ask for help,” said Meyers.